For years, people have been guessing at why, as a species, we love to do things like watch hideously depressing movies or read paralyzingly sad books. And while I’m sure any analyst could have a field day teasing apart just what causes a sad-book propensity, what I’m going to do is to put forth a generally applicable theory and then leave you with a selection of titles that will make you hurt so good. Books with heart-breaking plot points, utterly unlikable characters, dysfunction piled atop dysfunction simply must redeem themselves through the clarity of their prose and the ingenuity of their structure. In other words, when the content is unlovely the form must be brilliant. Great writing shines through unadulterated.
Insurance rates for cars aren't necessarily the cheapest in these five states. But their residents earn enough that they pay the lowest percentage of their median income to insure a car, according to new numbers from InsWeb, an online website that compares insurance rates. Is your state on the list? [Editor's note: The cost figures were changed to reflect annual rates.]
As the days get shorter the political season is heating up. Primaries Tuesday will affect some of the most interesting races of the year, from Florida’s high-profile Senate contest to Arizona Sen. John McCain’s bid to survive a challenge from the right. Here's what to look for:
[Editor's note: For an updated list of brand names and plants involved in the egg recall as of Aug. 26, click here.] Egg recall? It's just the latest in a number of high-profile food recalls in the United States in the past five years. The rate of major food-borne illnesses is down since the 1996-98 period, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported earlier this year. But with food production concentrated in large companies with regional or nationwide distribution, the US has seen several major food recalls. Among the biggest (click the right arrow for each new item):
When 1,004 American adults were asked to identify their dream job, they usually wanted to grab the limelight with a high-profile position, according to a poll released Monday by Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Here are their Top 5 dream jobs:
In July, the unemployment rate declined in more states than it rose. The changes were not dramatic, but this news from the US Labor Department on Friday highlighted the uneven pace of economic recovery in the 50 states. Here's a look at six states that have made the most headway against unemployment this year. The beginning of the year arrived when the total number of US jobs had reached a recession-related low point. This tale of six states reveals trends that are taking root elsewhere in the economy.
The bid to build a $100 million mosque and Islamic center two blocks from ground zero has ensnared a president and engrossed a nation. But New York isn't the only city debating a new mosque. Here are four of the most controversial battles nationwide.
Coined from an 1863 story called “The Children of the Public,” pork-barrel spending referred to any public funds spent to benefit the public. Over time, the term has evolved, referring to projects seen as wasteful, or that may only benefit a small group but the costs are spread out between all taxpayers. Of course, often, one politician's pork is another politician's legitimate expense. The Citizens Against Government Waste puts out an annual "Congressional Pig Book" that listed 9,129 projects at a cost of $16.5 billion in 2010.. Here a selection of US "pork" projects from recent years:
News reports suggest that some GM dealers might sell the all-electric Chevrolet Volt for $20,000 over the $41,000 suggested retail price. If you want to be green – but don't have THAT much green – here are five hybrids that will be a bit easier on the wallet, according to HybridCars.com.
US News college rankings were released Tuesday and, not surprisingly, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale grabbed the three top spots. But US News also rated the colleges and universities by value. Here are the Top 5 high-quality national universities whose typical financial aid package covers the most college costs, including books and transportation:
Five Guys Burgers and Fries landed atop a Zagat's survey of 6,518 Americans rating 136 fast-food and full-service chains. But asking five guys to rate the Top 5 burger joints is a little like getting five connoisseurs to agree on art. These are serious diners, who eat at chain outlets an average 10.7 times a month. (Yikes!) On Monday, Zagat released their take on America's Top 5 burger outlets. Do you agree?
A long article out this week in The Atlantic argues there's a good chance Israel will attack Iran over its nuclear program next summer. While there are strong grounds for doubt, here are some reasons author Jeffrey Goldberg could be right.
A long article in the latest Atlantic argues there's a strong chance Israel will unilaterally attack Iran next summer over its nuclear program. While there are strong arguments for an attack, here are three reasons why it won't happen.
On Wednesday night, after a multistate manhunt involving the Federal Bureau of Investigation, US resident Elias Abuelazam was nabbed at the Hartsfield-Jackson international airport in Atlanta before getting on a flight to Tel Aviv. He is suspected of 18 stabbings across three states, killing five. The manhunt holds a special place in crime annals for a simple reason: They provide a combination of imminent danger to the public with folk-hero lore – embodied by movies like "The Fugitive." Here are four memorable (and real) modern manhunts:
After an altercation with a passenger, JetBlue flight attendant Steve Slater quit his job on the spot and made a heroic (albeit possibly criminal) slide from an exit hatch. Yes, passengers can be incredibly obnoxious. Here’s a list of what annoys flight attendants most.
JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater – who quit and made a dramatic exit down an aircraft emergency slide on Aug. 9 – is the latest symbol of stress on the job. But he's hardly alone. With more employees electronically tethered to their jobs 24/7, greater competition in the workplace for fewer jobs due to a sluggish economy, and other factors may create more job-related anxiety. On the other hand, some of the jobs considered most stressful are also the most coveted. Here's a short list of the most stressful jobs of 2010, based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Careercast.com.
Online privacy has become a key civil liberty battleground. Companies such as Facebook and Google are amassing data about users' choices and activities, which businesses – and governments – would like access to. Across Europe, a backlash against the storage of online users data is growing. In Germany almost 35,000 people, including Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, sued their own government over the issue. Here are five countries where Google faces privacy, censorship, or other fights.
For the first time, an international research team has tracked down the oldest people in the world – a group they call “supercentenarians.” These are people who celebrated 110 birthdays or more. The study, by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, was prompted by the rising numbers of centenarians worldwide. Researchers in 15 nations have found more than 600 supercentenarians – and 19 lived beyond the age of 115. As with centenarians, women by far outnumbered men. Here are the top five countries with the most supercentenarians.
Among today’s American 25- to 34-year olds, slightly more than 40 percent have associate’s degrees or higher. But that rate places the US only 12th of the 36 countries in a College Board study of countries with the highest graduation rates. Here are the top six countries.
Jaws 35th anniversary: The great white shark in "Jaws" that terrorized audiences when the film opened on June 20, 1975 was not only a triumph in filmmaking, but also a mechanical marvel as well. Here are seven of the most famous — and infamous — animatronic monsters in film history.